No Safe Country for Women

It has been a strange week. My last post on social media has created havoc. People have been bashing me, attacking me and threatening me.

Part of me is overjoyed because I am challenging tradition and that’s causing ripples. The personal attacks are a sign that I am touching the core identity of people and by continuing to do this, I hope to help create a safer world for women.

The other part of me is sad because women are silent. This makes me realise how unsafe this world is for women; if they raise their voices, they will receive the same bashing as I have. If I was in Pakistan right now, I would be silent as well, just like many of them.

Tears are running from my eyes and my stomach is in twists. I am not sure what to do with this sadness that has engulfed me. The work that we women need to do to make it a safer world seems enormous. Men are hell-bent on shaming us; religions are shaming us feverishly and culture is teaching us to stay silent – it seems as if there is nowhere for women to go.

You can read this discussion by clicking on the image below:

Moulvis

 

It takes me back to the streets of my childhood. Imagine walking through a battleground; that’s exactly how my walk from the house to the bus stop felt like each day. I had to be alert and had to hold a battle stance. The men couldn’t do anything physically but they could disrespect, violate and strip me naked with their eyes and violate me, they did!

Years later, when I had already left Pakistan and had established an independent life for myself, I was suddenly the role model for many. Parents wanted to educate their daughters so that they could become successful like me but, at the time I was battling for my own place in the world, they were silent.

The silence of women feels the same now. I feel their pain and I am filled with outrage. We talk about freedom of speech; we say that humans are free to say anything but then we abuse children so that they become silent; we shame women so their voices are never heard and then, we expect women to speak up for their rights.

The ironic part of all of this is that amid all the attack and personal bashing, the real issue is pushed aside. Even when I present factual evidence and argument, it seems that attacking me is a way for men to feel better about themselves. Somehow, they believe that they are discrediting me. The truth is to the contrary…

Read this article from Reuters about the top 10 most dangerous countries for women.

I guess it is time to practice my own lesson – Sitting with the discomfort of not knowing the answers.